A thesis acknowledgment is an informal letter of gratitude to those who contributed in some way to the completion of a degree. The most common form is a short paragraph thanking those who have helped with the research, writing, or other aspects. It may also include thanks for funding or providing equipment and facilities used during the study. There are no set rules on length, but it should not be more than two pages long as this could distract from your main content. This guide is also useful when writing dissertation acknowledgments.
How to write the perfect acknowledgment for your thesis?
Writing an acknowledgment in a thesis is an important and challenging task. You can choose to acknowledge those people and organizations who have contributed in some way to the completion of your degree, or you may decide to focus on thanking the main persons who made a difference.
An acknowledgment page is not part of your thesis, so it does not need to be as high quality as the work you submit for examination. However, it is important to give this page of your thesis the same level of care that you have put into your work and your research.
In some cases, you may find that it is hard to decide on who should be acknowledged. You may feel that you need to recognize everyone who contributed, but this could take up more than two pages of your thesis and distract from your research’s main point. If only one or two people made special contributions, then focusing on just these individuals could be better.
It is a good idea to find out if any of the people you intend to acknowledge have particular requirements for how they would like their name to appear in your acknowledgement section. For example, some academics may only want their first and last names instead of having Dr. or Professor. It is important to look for these clues, and if you do not know what they want, it is a good idea to ask them.
There are two categories of acknowledgments:
- Professional acknowledgments:
These are acknowledgments that you write to show gratitude to parties that offered professional aid. They include:
- Lab assistants
- Research participants.
2. Personal acknowledgments:
These often include friends, family members, partners, or spouses who have contributed to the completion of your degree through support (emotional or monetary) or encouragement.
An acknowledgement page should be a thank you letter that is informal, short, and to the point. Avoid being too boastful or putting down others as this would reflect negatively on your personality. A small paragraph will suffice, but if you feel that more space is needed, consider splitting it into two paragraphs – one for each category of people you acknowledge.
You will need to thank those who have helped you throughout this process – professionals, families, and friends who supported you while making homemade cookies or taking care of children while working on your study. Don’t forget to mention that even minor contributions have made a big difference.
To write a strong acknowledgement page:
- Remember not to go on and on about how grateful you are.
- Avoid making it overly formal so that it does not sound like a list of names or an invitation card.
- Keep all the information relevant and simple.
Finally, you may decide to mention any plans you have after graduating from your degree program since it will help those who read your work know what you want to do after completing your studies.
- It should thank those people who have been of help to you.
- It should also include a statement that says that no contribution is too small or trivial and that even such contributions are appreciated and valued highly by you.
- You can use this space to mention anything that you consider noteworthy or that would be of interest to the reader and may not be included in the thesis.
- It can also have any future academic bearing that you plan to take after graduating.
The length of your acknowledgement page will depend on how many people you have to thank and the personal tone that you choose. If keeping it formal, a short paragraph will suffice but if you want to include details about each person, consider splitting it into two paragraphs – one for each category.
A typical format includes two paragraphs with one paragraph devoted to each category of acknowledgments, although this could vary depending on the institution, discipline, or personal preference.
It is important to remember that an acknowledgement page should be easily readable, and it must not be overly professional in format and length.
Sometimes it is common to get stuck while writing the acknowledgment. So, it is encouraged to start with the following sentence or its variation, ” I would like to thank..”
Acknowledgment should have a voice of gratitude and respect. The tone or style of the acknowledgement is personal and depends on you, but it should be polite, respectful, and sincere.
Here are some sample phrases that you may use:
For those who helped with research
“I would like to thank Dr. Smith for his invaluable help while writing my dissertation.”
For those who helped with financial matters
“I would like to thank the bank for providing me with a scholarship that made it possible for me to complete my degree successfully.”
For your partner or spouse
“I would like to thank my husband, who has always supported me in every way. I would not have been able to do this without his constant love and care.”
For your parents
“I would like to thank my parents, who have always been so supportive of my academic and professional pursuits.”
Not all university and college levels require you to include an acknowledgment in your thesis, so make sure that you ask your department’s examiner or contact supervisor first.
If your thesis is to be submitted electronically, then the acknowledgment will not necessarily be published as part of your work so, this should also be kept in mind while writing one.
However, if your thesis is published in a book or journal, you should ensure that the acknowledgment appears either at the front or at the back of the published work.
It allows you to say thank you. It means that you can take this opportunity to thank everyone who supported and contributed to your thesis in any way. This could be through friends, family, and those who you worked with. It is not a place to go into great detail, but it does allow you to express gratitude towards each supporter.
It also allows you to give formal recognition: By including an acknowledgement page, it shows that you are grateful for what other people have done for you, and it formally recognizes their contribution.
The most common mistakes when writing an acknowledgment include:
1). Excessive detail – only the crucial information needs to be included. It is unnecessary to go into too much personal detail, especially if you include it in your thesis that will be published or publicly available.
Remember – this page should be easy to read, and it should provide a personal touch.
2). Incorrect tone or inappropriate style is a common mistake, and it can make you appear ungrateful towards the person.
Remember to keep the tone and style of the acknowledgement personal – don’t make it overly formal or professional.
3). Inappropriate length – this is another mistake that students often make. They include too much detail, making the page difficult to read, and it looks unprofessional and too long.
Try to keep it short and make sure that you focus on the most crucial details.
4). Failure to acknowledge your supervisor – This is a serious mistake. If your thesis or dissertation is not published in any form, then it may not be necessary to formally thank your supervisor in writing. However, if there are any plans to publish or publicly present your work, then you should make sure that you formally thank your supervisor in writing.
5). Failure to include a significant person – If any significant people have helped you in one way or another with your dissertation, then make sure that you include them. You don’t necessarily need to thank them formally, but an acknowledgment goes a long way in recognizing their contribution.
6). Starting with personal acknowledgments instead of professional acknowledgments – While writing your acknowledgments, you must start with the professional ones. Starting with professional acknowledgment cover certain political aspect that may be required.
I would first like to thank my supervisors, Dr. Craig Stockwell and Dr. Kenneth Mills, for their guidance and support throughout the completion of this thesis. I would also like to thank all four members of my committee, Dr. Robert Evans, Dr. Cécile Bedarida, Dr. Kristine Dooling, and Dr. Mark Mitchell, for their invaluable assistance, advice, and insight. This thesis would not have been possible without the financial assistance I received from a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) doctoral scholarship, UBC TRiO Program Award, Graduate Student Society Scholarship (Grad Students), Faculty of Arts Graduate Fellowship, and Sauder School of Business Micro-Scholarship.
I would also like to thank my family, friends, and colleagues who helped me along the way. They provided valuable assistance, insights, and perspective at various stages of this process. I am incredibly grateful to two individuals who have been instrumental in making this thesis what it is today: Joe McReynolds and Dr. James Herman.
I would also like to thank my many friends at UBC. They have supported me throughout the years, especially those that took time out of their busy lives to provide feedback on my writing: Nicholas Blackshaw, Daniel Cawsey, Emily Chiappetta, Bridget Doherty-McCormick, Sarah Hagan, and Zain Latif.
I would like to thank my family for their unconditional support and encouragement throughout the years. Most of all, thanks go out to my partner Shireen Alikhani for her love and constant support throughout this struggle known as graduate school.
I would like to thank my supervisor, Dr. Tom Barraclough, who has supported me throughout the inception of this project and beyond, providing constructive feedback that has always driven the topic in new directions. I would also like to acknowledge Dr. Heike Faber, whose enthusiasm for eighteenth-century literature was inspirational to my own research project.
I am grateful to the two anonymous reviewers who provided valuable feedback. I thank the ESRC for funding this project under grant number R000232846 and UCL for teaching relief in 2008-9.
I am also most fortunate to have had the love, support, and practical help from my family that enabled me to complete this thesis. I would like to thank my wife Emily and our sons James and Oliver for their love, patience, and understanding.
It is a pleasure to express my gratitude to the following people who have made this thesis possible: My supervisor Dr. Robert Clarke whose help and valuable guidance at all times have been invaluable. I would also like to thank my co-supervisor, Professor Mike Jones, for all his help and support during this time. I would further like to acknowledge Dr. Peter Brooks, Dr. Rosalind Brown, Dr. Susan Manly, Dr. Steve Moxon, who have given me the opportunity of working on such an exciting project.
My sincere gratitude goes to Jane for her invaluable help, guidance, and personal support, making life at the University of Sussex such a pleasant experience. Thank you so much. May this thesis be dedicated to all my family members who unknowingly have given me their time and energy throughout these years.
My friends in England are too numerous to name, but I would like to specially mention Ajay Haksar, Shahid Mahmood, and Seema Ojha for the excellent times we have had.
My friends in Lahore, Pakistan, are also too numerous to name. I am endlessly grateful for all your love and care at various stages of my life. My new friends since moving around Sussex have made my home here even more welcoming and comfortable. Thank you for your support and friendship, especially Raj, Khushwant, Ritu, Pratibha, Louisa, and Iain.
A special note of gratitude goes out to three very good friends who have come into my life since starting this project. They are Olly Owen (who has been a constant source of support), Tally Callaghan, and Mark Lee. My love to them all.
Thank you for your unconditional love, support, and patience, Annalisa, Joe, Nia, Isobelle, and Theo.
I am also extremely grateful to my sisters Shehnaz, Robina, and Safina. Thank you so much for all your love and support throughout this time. May this be dedicated to my wonderful parents, Hamid Akmal Hussain (1932 – 2010), who taught me an appreciation of the arts and sciences and instilled in me a desire to make sense of both. I miss you, Dad. Thank you, Mum, for your continuous encouragement, helping with early drafts, and reading the final version.
In conclusion, it is important to give credit where credit is due. Acknowledging the work done by others will be a sign of respect and a way for you to show your gratitude and appreciation for their contributions. In addition, acknowledging someone else’s work may help them feel less isolated or alone in this world and make them more open to collaboration with you going forward. As such, it should always be encouraged at all times when possible.